British GP review: is Alonso a contender again?

Posted by topgear at 08:24 am on Sunday August 19, 2012


Fernando Alonso scored Ferrari’s first win of the season at this afternoon’s British Grand Prix, taking the chequered flag ahead of Sebastian Vettel and pole-sitter Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton was looking good for a podium place (having started way down in tenth) until dwindling fuel forced him to drop off the throttle and allow Marko to pass and some save face, having been jumped by Vettel off the line.

Meanwhile, Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg both had fairly straightforward races to finish fifth and sixth, Segio Perez impressed with a season’s best seventh, and Nick Heidfeld, Michael Schumacher and Jaime Alguersuari also took home some points.
Although the race brought Vettel’s winning streak to an end, the plucky German still increases his lead at the top of the championship (which now stands at a mighty 80 points), thanks to a botched McLaren pit-stop that dumped Jenson Button out of the race on lap 39. Not that all was well behind the scenes at Red Bull. Aside from appearing to issue team orders in the race’s final laps (more on that later), it was another piece of sloppy wheel gun work that handed the lead to Fernando Alonso on lap 27, when Vettel and he filed into the pits.

So, is double champion Fernando Alonso now in contention to bag a third world title? Can he really turn his season around and show Vettel and his stupid waggly finger the true power of the prancing horse? In a word, no. With the season now at the half way mark (believe it or not), Alonso would have to win a good six or seven of the remaining ten races to make amends for his sluggish start to the year, and even then he’d have to pray that Vettel’s left-rear pit man forgets how to do his job a couple more times.

More importantly, though, we now know without a shadow of a doubt who the folks at Red Bull are giving the lion’s share of their love to. With Vettel’s KERS failing, Marko was all over his teammate in the closing laps of the race but was told by his team to “maintain the gap.” Team boss Christian Horner then cut a very sheepish figure when approached by the BBC’s Ted Kravitz after the race, fumbling for words as he limply tried to defend what he called ‘a team decision.’ Quite a U-turn for a man who little under a year ago had this to say about Ferrari’s apparent use of team orders at the German Grand Prix:

Still, choosing Mark Webber as your number two driver (a label he very publicly bemoaned after winning last year’s British Grand Prix) comes with its hazards. This is what Marko had to say about the whole kerfuffle: “I’m not fine with it, no. Of course I ignored the team and I was battling to the end.” And good for him, we say.

What do you reckon – are Red Bull being massive hypocrites? Are Ferrari the new number two team? Will Jenson Button ever find any luck at a British Grand Prix? Have a chew over the full race results, then let us know with a comment.

1. Fernando Alonso
2. Sebastian Vettel
3. Mark Webber
4. Lewis Hamilton
5. Felipe Massa
6. Nico Rosberg
7. Sergio Perez
8. Nick Heidfeld
9. Michael Schumacher
10. Jaime Alguersuari
11. Adrian Sutil
12. Vitaly Petrov
13. Rubens Barrichello
14. Pastor Maldonado
15. Paul Di Resta
16. Timo Glock
17. Jerome d’Ambrosio
18. Vitantonio Liuzzi
19. Daniel Ricciardo
20. Jenson Button DNF
21. Sebastien Buemi DNF
22. Kamui Kobayashi DNF
23. Jarno Trulli DNF
24. Heikki Kovalainen DNF

TAGS// f1, formula one, british gp

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